Image credit: Tuvie/Eddie Gandelman
The idea of urine separation to ward off peak fertilizer is not exactly new. But while some of us get to pee on our garden mulch, or urinate on our compost heaps, infrastructure for large-scale urine collection in an urban environment still seems a ways off. But here's a more decentralized option from designer Eddie Gandelman in the form of a public urinal that filters pee on site, and uses it to feed plants. Posted over at design site Tuvie, the When Nature Calls urinal is in the concepting stages right now. While us TreeHuggers may focus on the tantalizing idea of resource efficiency and offsetting fertilizer needs, the primary motivation of the designer seems to be making public toilets a more pleasant place to be, and pee:
By setting up the restroom in pod format with 4 urinals on every pod, the users can enjoy more space and privacy. This system as well paves way for both peeing and watering the plants. Approved by a professor of toxicology, the project employs 3 processes. The urine thus collected is filtered, which is then used for the plants. Peeing, besides being a waste process becomes a nurturing one, which appears to be a great advantage here. This idea will certainly make the very notion of urination a better experience.
We're not the only ones to wonder if this could be taken a step further though. Michael Hines over at Trend Hunter writes about When Nature Calls, suggesting that restaurants and bars could could grow vegetables or fruits, cutting "costs and carbon at the same time." Of course some fairly careful monitoring would need to be done to ensure that the systems' filter mechanisms can get rid of potential pathogens or medications. And whether or not the public would be ready to accept such a direct and immediate connection between human waste and food remains to be seen—however safe it proved to be.
But hey, at least it's not a burger made from poop...
More on Urine as Fertilizer
Is Male Pee Better than Female Pee? The Compost Conundrum
Tomatoes Love Urine: Four-Times Increased Yield
Garden Mulch Makes Simplest Composting Toilet
Urine Separation to Ward Off Peak Fertilizer